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Thome homers twice in possibly Harwell's last game

CLEVELAND (AP) -- It may have been the final game for Cleveland
third baseman Travis Fryman and Detroit broadcaster Ernie Harwell,
but it was Jim Thome who stole the show.

Thome's two home runs gave the fans something to cheer despite a
potential players' strike looming over major league baseball.

The homers were enough for C.C. Sabathia, who pitched seven
solid innings to help the Indians beat the Tigers 2-1 Wednesday
night.

Fryman, who announced before the game that he will retire at the
end of the season, was 0-for-3.

Indians fans gave Fryman a standing ovation in the top of the
seventh following a video presentation. The five-time All-Star
tipped his cap and Thome, John McDonald and Omar Vizquel ran over
from their positions in the infield to embrace him.

"We wanted to show him the respect he deserves,'' Thome said.

It may have been Fryman's last game with the players'
association set to strike Friday unless it has an agreement for a
labor contract.

It also may have been the last game for retiring Tigers
broadcaster Ernie Harwell. The Indians and Tigers are both off
Thursday.

Fryman said he was optimistic that the labor situation would be
resolved and that his career wouldn't be over just yet.

"The business of baseball stinks, but the game of baseball is
still awfully fun,'' Fryman said.

Both teams played like it was the last game of the season. It
lasted only two hours and 22 minutes, with neither team able to put
a rally together.

Sabathia (9-10) allowed a run on four hits and four walks,
striking out six. It was his first win in three starts.

Sabathia, who has won three of his last four decisions, threw in
the 97 to 98 mph range.

"I don't think he's done that in a while,'' Thome said.

Danys Baez, moved from the starting rotation to the closer role
earlier in the week, pitched the ninth for his first career save.

Randall Simon led off the ninth against Baez, and pinch-runner
George Lombard stole second on a strikeout before Shane Halter
flied out to end the game.

Brian Powell (1-4) went 6 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on six
hits.

Indians manager Joel Skinner said Fryman's farewell, Sabathia's
strong outing, Thome's homers and Baez's success out of the bullpen
all added up to a perfect evening.

"It was a great night. It was plusses across the board,'' he
said.

Skinner said he didn't think it would be the last game of the
season. As he said it, he patted a binder on his desk containing an
advance report on the Red Sox, who play the Indians this weekend.

"I think we're going to play Friday. That's where I'm at,'' he
said.

Carlos Pena hit his 15th home run and second in as many nights
in the second inning.

Thome answered in the bottom half with his 40th homer to tie it
at 1. It was his 900th career RBI.

Thome, who was 3-for-3, hit another solo shot in the sixth.

The Tigers intentionally walked Thome in the eighth, which
generated the only boos of the night.

"The people were booing because they want to see their man hit.
It might have been his last at-bat as an Indian,'' Tigers pitcher
Jose Lima said. "He is so special to this city. He is a role model
and a great, great hitter.''

Thome is eligible for free agency at the end of the season, but
has been adamant that he wants to remain in Cleveland.

Ellis Burks broke out of an 0-for-18 slump with a base hit in
the eighth. Bobby Higginson threw out Vizquel trying to score from
second on the play.

Each team's center fielder produced a defensive gem.

Cleveland's Coco Crisp made a diving catch on Higginson with a
man on in the sixth to end the inning.

Hiram Bocachica topped Crisp's catch in the bottom half. The
center fielder went to his left and made a sliding catch of
Vizquel's drive on the warning track.

Game notes
Thome became the first Indians player to hit 40 or more
home runs in three seasons -- 1997, 2001 and 2002. Albert Belle,
Manny Ramirez and Rocky Colavito did it twice. ... Harwell threw
out the first pitch and the Indians honored his 55-year career by
naming the visiting radio booth after him. ... Halter extended his
hitting drought to 0-for-13. ... Higginson got his 14th assist,
which ranks second in the AL behind teammate Robert Fick.